Our Timeline

Under the direction of Co-Founder, Nicole Landers and Garden Director, Ben Hirschfeld along with the leadership at Edwin Markham Middle School and Principal Alex Kim, the "Watts Healing Tech Garden" and orchard has become a safe, tactile learning environment for students to develop a passion for healthy living while providing access to fresh nutrient dense foods.  

CHG in partnership with the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator (LACI) are creating the first of its kind clean-tech incubator urban school and community garden by utilizing technology that will not only conserve water and energy but also allow us to reduce waste into energy.  

These applications will be shared with the students and the community to expand the possibility of near future green jobs and vocational training opportunities. 

LACI supports our mission as we work towards growing and strengthening green, inclusive communities like Watts. Ultimately showcasing how we grow food more water and energy efficient with a greater return of investment.

People, planet and profit.  One for all.  


April 2018

CHG and TenderGreens hosted College Track for a Planting Day in honor of Earth Day.  

Feastly hosts for CHG and the Watts Healing Tech Garden a fundraiser in Venice with partners; Kite Hill, Sky Source Water made from Air, 3R Garden Design, Venice Beach Wines, Pledgeling, Kind Traveler, Venice Ale House and Feastly's top chefs cooking up vegan fare.  

March 2018

Principal Alex Kim agrees to make CHG Watts Healing Garden an elective for starting school year 2018-2019

February 2018

College Track Watts and Jordan High School begins Internship Community Program with 14 students through end of May 2018

January 2018

CHG goes to Sacramento with Watts Rising to be awarded the Transformative Climate Collaborative Grant from the Strategic Growth Council and Governor Jerry Brown.  

The Watts Healing Tech Garden hosts; HACLA, Mayor of LA Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Joe Buscaino, Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, Assembly Member Mike Gipson celebrate Watts Rising TCC Grant Awardees

Assembly Member Gipson of District 15 recognizes CHG, Markham Middle School and The Watts Healing Tech Garden on MLK Day.  

December 2017

Raising awareness in the Community and CHG became a part of a collaborative, Watts Rising a coalition started by the Housing Authority and City of Los Angeles of over 20 groups - non profit and for profit businesses coming together to create unity, healing, health, education, jobs and sustainability for city of Watts.  

November 2017

CHG continues to facilitate along side the teachers at Markham to having the students learn their science and social sciences classes in the garden to propel the thinking and hands on learning into their everyday life.  

CHG and Markham faculty collaborate to throw a TURKEY BOWL feast in the garden with local chef/ restaurant owner of the HAMWICH. We hosted over 150 students, parents and teachers in the garden for a Thanksgiving meal with all the green served grown with love in the garden and other yummy fare donated from local businesses including Thrive Market and Interstate Foods.  

Community Day of Service in the garden on November 11th sponsored by Chow Now having over 45 students, community members and CHG Volunteers.  Making new friends is always a good thing!   

October 2017

CHG and Markham held a Harvest Festival in the garden after school for over 200 students and parents that participated.  The students decorated pots and planted seeds to grow in starts to be planted in their garden when ready.  We also had garden tours for anyone who wanted to participate!

September 2017

Working with Markham's 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teachers and their classes in the garden twice a month.  Serving over 200 students in garden education. 

August 2017

Teachers begin curriculum-based lessons and projects that utilize the garden.

Assemblymember Mike Gipson visits the Watts Healing Tech Garden. 

July 2017  

We hire our first US Veteran to be our Assistant Urban Farmer who was trained by our awesome friends at Grow Good Farms in Bell, CA.  

Hosted a day of service with the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator's team and their families.                                                                   

A local woman owned business, SCONELY partners with us to teach students financial literacy through having a plot at the garden where we grow produce specifically for her company.                                                                                      

June 2017  

First summer harvest of peaches, plums, watermelon, kale, collard and tomatoes donated to the school, students, teachers and volunteers. 

May 2017

We host our first gathering in the garden for our teachers, students and parents.

First Lady of Los Angeles, Amy Wakeland tours with LACI and CHG Team & Board Members. 

April 2017

Launched our after-school garden program with Boys and Girls Club of Markham.

Held several volunteer days with the Honest Company, JMU alum, and The Heart Series.  Happy Earth Day!

March 2017

Officially receive a 3-year agreement from LA Unified School District for our urban garden pilot program at Edwin Markham Middle School.                                                                    

Drought Diet, a clean water technology installs there sub-irrigation to save over 60% of water that waters our farm and orchard.


With the support of the Jena & Michael King Foundation, GO Campaign, Earth Friendly Products, other grantors and additional donors, we converted the lifeless, one-acre garden and orchard into the beginnings of our “Watts Healing Tech Garden” at Edwin Markham Middle School a pilot program. Ultimately turning this this space into a beautiful, safe, outdoor healing classroom to teach agriculture, clean technology, STEAM learning (A for Agriculture), culinary skills, vocational training and inspire the next generation to do even better.      


Why Watts?

Watts is a 2.12-square-mile neighborhood in Los Angeles that has one of the highest population densities, the majority living under the poverty line with the highest rate of heart disease, obesity and diabetes from a recent study from Charles Drew University, the most single parent families coupled with the highest rate of gang crime and drug abuse. Watts is only 10 miles from Venice Beach.  This short video tell the tale best.  

Watts is a known "food desert" where residents have little to no access to healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Edwin Markham Middle School is ranked as one of the five lowest scoring middle schools in the LAUSD district. 

Continue to help us grow our Watts Healing TechGarden by adopting a Tree,  plot, or getting your hands dirty!